In Focus: Millions of people in southern Africa need global effort to cope with severe droughtIBTimes UK

Millions of people across southern Africa are facing hunger due to a severe drought exacerbated by the El Nino phenomenon, caused by warm water in the Pacific Ocean. El Nino occurs every two to seven years and can last from nine months to two years. Countries where people mostly rely on agricultural practices for their survival suffer greatly due to the warming of the ocean.

IBTimes UK spoke with Gregory Barrow from the United Nations World Food Programme on how the drought is challenging people's survival and what the international community is doing to help.

It is believed that at least 14 million people will face food shortages in the upcoming weeks but right groups have warned 40 million could be affected by food insecurity across 10 countries in southern Africa.

The countries worst affected by the drought are Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Lesotho and Malawi, Barrow explained.

Nearly three million people are expected to be affected by food insecurity in Malawi, with the WFP warning that a lack of funds might further threaten their survival.

At least 1.5 million people are at risk of food shortage in Zimbabwe, where the meteorological department carried out a cloud-seeding operation as nearly 100% of the country received less than three-quarters of its average rainfall.

Nearly two million people are at risk in Madagascar and 650,000 people in Lesotho. In addition to crop losses, water shortages are also causing the death of livestock in these countries as well as Ethiopia, South Africa, Angola, Mozambique and Swaziland. Furthermore, food prices have increased too.